The Elliott Hall Medical Centre in Hatch End, Pinner, Middlesex is to be presented with a prestigious award this evening (Friday 18 May) for excellence in the care of patients with disability.
The annual Disability Care Award is presented by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), sponsored by Leonard Cheshire, the charity which works to improve access to services for people with disabilities.
The judges praised Elliott Hall Medical Centre for its work in bringing together members of the local community in helping fellow patients. The medical centre has a dedicated team of volunteers through its Patient Association who have, for over 13 years, helped other patients with shopping and lifts to and from the surgery, visited housebound patients and circulated a twice yearly newsletter to all households with selfhelp information and service updates.
Through its understanding of the needs of patients suffering from disability, the practice has ensured that all its services can be easily and practically accessed by all patients. Automatic doors, hearing loops, easy to read patient information leaflets and staff training in disability issues are all in place.
Patients suffering from mild-to-moderate mental health problems also benefit through care close to home with dedicated clinics within the surgery. Primary care mental health workers at the practice show patients how to use useful techniques and tools to help address any difficulties they are experiencing, such as step-by-step guidance in working through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), selfhelp manuals and offering counselling using a person-centred approach.
The practice has received numerous awards in the past for their patient-centred approach to care, including a Gold Award from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 2006.
Professor David Haslam, President of the RCGP, said: "The Disability Care Award is not just about making sure patients can access services through automatic doors and hearing loops, although obviously these are very important. It is about rewarding GP practices who have taken a really strong stance and dedicated their time and energies to creating a focal point for the local community; where everyone, whether or not they feel they suffer from a disability, feels their problems can be understood and eased where possible."
John Knight, Head of External Policy at Leonard Cheshire, said: "Elliott Hall Medical Centre really demonstrates good patient-centred care in their approach and also has strongly embedded community links. Through its links with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers there is also proactive support for carers. There is strong evidence of disability awareness in their services and facilities for disabled patients. They also have a very good website."
Dr Chris Jenner, GP Principal at Elliott Hall Medical Centre, is justly proud of their work, which they strive to build on year after year. Dr Jenner said: "The practice team and the Patients' Association are very proud of the work we do together to support patients with disability. It is particularly satisfying that we were proposed for this award by a patient. This award and the prize money will help us to build on these achievements. We are always looking at ways of improving services.
"We are now planning to lobby patients with a wide range of disabilities to see what improvements to prioritise and will use the prize money to support these initiatives."
The adjudicators were much impressed this year with the overall quality of applications. Whilst only one practice can be selected as a winner, the Village Medical Centre, Kingswood Way, Great Denham, Bedford, was highly commended. In particular, the panel praised the comprehensive information package, the transport systems to bring patients with their carer to the surgery and disability-friendly procedures. All these have been developed since the practice opened only a few years ago.